Tuesday July 20, 2004

If you come here often, you may start to notice a few changes. We now have a new Products page (lecithin and the CrankandStein mill are now available), the cocoa beans now have their own Review page and hopefully Ordering is a little more straight forward.

Aside from that, there is now a data associated to the "Alchemist Notebook" so you can easily see when I have added new information (Roasting just got a major overhaul).

08:24 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (2)

Posted Comments for this update:

[Fri 00:38] Charles email ~
Have you yet tried a rotisserie style oven-roaster (such as that available from Ronco and probably others)? This may provide the combined benefits of an oven's temperature control with drum roaster's constant agitation. Not sure if any drums available for any model rotisserie, but surely one could be fabricated with only moderate effort.
[Mon 07:20] Alchemist John ~ site
I have not tried it yet. The main reason is that it would hold about a pound at a time and that 2-3 pounds is nicer to have on hand. For one pound batches, a 1000 W heat gun works nicely. Sounds a bit crude, but keep the gun 3-4 inches away, stir the beans, and you have roasted cocoa beans in about 5-7 minutes.

Thursday July 15, 2004

If you have tried to access Chocolate Alchemy over the last week or so, you may have wondered what happened to us when the site did not load. Don't fear. We are still here. We just had our host server crash and it took a few days to get back up and running. When it went down, it also took e-mail with it, so if you wrote for questions, quotes or whatnot, and did not receive a reply, please resend. Everything (fingers crossed) is back up and running.

And just so this has a little chocolate related news, I have just verified that it is a breeze to make chocolate syrup for use in whatever you might use chocolate syrup for. Personally I am stirring a spoonful into my morning coffee for an instant REAL mocha.

Just take the cocoa beans through the process of getting to cocoa liqueur (roast, crack and winnow (optional), and grind in the Champion). I pour this up into ice cube trays for convenient 1 oz portions.

Chocolate Syrup

4 oz Home made cocoa liqueur from fresh cocoa beans
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
dash of vanilla extract if you wish

Bring the water and sugar to a boil to make a sugar syrup. Turn off the heat, add your cocoa liqueur (4 cubes) and let it melt. Whisk it all smooth once it is melted and refrigerate.

Like many fresh products, this is not going to be just like Hershey (gods, I hope not :-). It may separate a little (a little lecithin in the cocoa may help this, more testing later) from day to day and is definitely going to taste stronger. Just give it a quick stir before using.

Finally, please experiment with the proportions. One person has reported using no sugar at all for a great unsweetened chocolate milk. I think the next batch I make I will double the cocoa.

03:46 pm : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (4)

Posted Comments for this update:

[Sun 01:09] sani email ~
found your page very interesting im an Australian woman married to a Balinese man I live on the slope of a volcano and i am surrounded with cocoa trees.. the thought of making my own chocolate really excited me.. but i thimk i will have to pass as it is very primative here... we do have a lot of lifes comforts ie.... phone and electricity ....its such a wonderful place... and just to have these beautiful trees at my back door i feel so blessed... Sani... Bali... Indonisia
[Mon 07:03] Alchemist John ~ site
Sani, Thanks for the great note. I sometimes think we go for the taste of chocolate just because we can't be surrounded by it. It sound wonderful.
[Sat 06:26] D@C! email ~
WOW!Have just picked my biggest home crop of cocoa beans in TNQueensland and had wondered if there was some INFO on the net!?...... Lucky I have a champion! Have you made a chocolate carrot juice yet!?!?!? Just roasted 8ofthe 24 pods, have dehusked, some are still SPECIAL AS WHOLE BEANSFOR DIPPING IN CHOCOLATE? and most crushed free of husks,,,,,,In past - smaller crops have seen them ground in the blender with sugar and vanilla added...or shaffeer sells nibs for cookies so i have added them in baking...still learning like the rest of us?!?"! but NOW i will give the CHAMPION L:ICK! THANK_ YOU!!!!! Looking forward...must find out what variety- kind they are! D.
[Fri 15:45] Leona ~ site
John, Thanks for the syrup recipe, I will be trying this. I've been looking around your site and it is fascinating, I never really new how cocoa was processed into chocolate.

Saturday July 10, 2004


I just realized it has been quite some time since I posted here. It is not for lack of new information, going ons or lack of anything to say. It is actually just the opposite. It has just been too busy.

* Every since the Barinas came in I have been filling orders for it, a lot more orders.
* We have been getting the final details of the CrankandStein mill in order.
* I have been experimenting with fresh chocolate in truffles, tortes, hot cocoa and mochas.
* We have been coding up a new recipe section (for the truffles, tortes and mochas) and * getting the new products on line in the orders section.

On those notes, here are the main big updates.

We are now offering the CrankandStein Cocoa Mill. It is $135.00 + s/h and drop ships from the manufacture. It will crack 4 lbs of roasted cocoa per minute by hand.

We are now offering Lecithin. It is $0.50/oz. It goes a long way, so most of the time, you only need an ounce or two.

We will soon be offering Organic FT Cocoa Butter. Hopefully within another couple of weeks.

Like I said, I am busy coding up the official pages for the above with lots of photos and descriptions and am slowly getting the recipe pages built.

Finally, our new shopping cart system is on the horizon. No more e-mailing me for s/h quotes. YEAH! Suffice it to say, our IT person had some medically difficulties, but is on the mend and back on the project.

The IT guy did have one MAJOR design question that I want to get input on. We can make the shopping cart live real time with Flash. He thinks enough people have it to make it worthwhile. If you don't have Flash, you might have some difficulty ordering or need to download Flash. What are your thoughts about this? We really could use some input whether this would be appreciated or annoying. Please either email me and let me know, or post your opinion here.

Thank you a lot everyone. Look for new pages really soon.

Alchemist John

08:28 am : Posted to: General : Please leave a comment (1)

Posted Comments for this update:

[Mon 10:30] Chris ~ site
I may be (probably am) too late, but I would vote AGAINST flash. Normal HTML carts work very well and work for everyone. Why possibly add any form of inconvenience at all? All the sites I purchase from, including Amazon.com and many smaller vendors do just fine w/o Flash carts. I recommend you do the same.

Cocoa Beans
Cracking & Winnowing
Conching & Refining
Tempering & Molding

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